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Tuesday News: Get with the programming


NC'S UNEMPLOYED WILL SEE DELAY IN NEWLY EXTENDED BENEFITS: State and federal officials started that conversation Monday as the federal government worked up the fine print on a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill that President Donald Trump signed into law Sunday. His signature, delayed several days as the president threatened a veto, came a day after previous federal unemployment extensions expired. Now comes a rollout for the new program, then people get their 11-week extensions and the $300-a-week boost included in the bill. "The N.C. Division of Employment Security is reviewing the new unemployment provisions of the federal COVID-19 relief bill and preparing to reprogram its system to process claims for the additional benefits," agency spokeswoman Kerry McComber said via email. "These benefits cannot be paid until official guidance is received and the benefits system is reprogrammed." The division told claimants earlier on Monday that it didn't expect all of that guidance to come until next month.

Monday News: Six thousand, five hundred forty nine


OVER 516,000 NC CITIZENS HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: At least 516,828 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 6,549 have died, according to state health officials. On Saturday, the department reported 19,419 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period. The department did not provide coronavirus data Thursday or Friday because of the Christmas holiday. About 11.9% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest day for which data are available. On Sunday, 3,123 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Carolina. That’s 25 patients higher than the previous hospitalizations record of 3,098, which was reported three days earlier.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NC'S REGAN IS A GOOD PICK TO RESTORE AND REVIVE THE EPA: Four years ago when Regan took over the state Department of Environmental Quality, he inherited an agency diminished by harsh budget cuts. Ineffective leadership left the dedicated rank-and-file agency workers unsupported and uncertain about their mission. But, as Regan demonstrated over the last four years, he was far more than a cheerleader. He was effective at resolving responsibilities for the thorny Duke Energy coal ash spill disaster the previous administration failed to resolve. His agency was also able to get Chemours Co. to end the polluting practices that had the chemical GenX contaminating drinking water sources in the lower Cape Fear River region. Following Gov. Roy Cooper’s October 2018 executive order on climate change and development of a clean energy economy, Regan developed a Clean Energy Plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s electric power producers by 70% and accelerate clean energy economy expansion opportunities in both the rural and urban areas of the state.

Saturday News: Folwell's Folly, part six


STATE TREASURER SIDES WITH SHERIFFS AGAINST COCKTAILS TO GO: Cooper issued the executive order later Monday, noting that he’d gotten concurrence from the Council of State. But State Treasurer Dale Folwell said he chose not to respond to the Cooper administration’s email. He’s critical of how Cooper has handled the Council of State’s involvement this year, and he wants to discuss proposed executive orders in a meeting — not over email with only a few hours to reply. “These executive orders need to be developed more comprehensively, more transparently, and we have to be able to do that in a forum where we can challenge assumptions,” Folwell said. He argues that the state needs to do more to help restaurants and bars, many of which are likely to go out of business. “It seems that the governor thinks that the ability to order a cocktail to go is going to fix these problems, and the sad fact is that he’s wrong,” Folwell said. Tell that your GOP buddies in the General Assembly, who are sitting on a $4+Billion surplus.

Thursday News: Outdated concept

NC SHERIFFS WON'T SUPPORT COOPER'S MIXED DRINKS "TO GO" DIRECTIVE: The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association said Wednesday that it can't find any legal grounds to support Gov. Roy Cooper's recent executive order allowing restaurants and bars to sell mixed drinks for takeout and delivery. Cooper issued the order Monday as a way to limit the spread of coronavirus without hurting the beleaguered hospitality industry, which already is hindered by capacity limits and other restrictions the governor previously put in place. The order directs the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to waive any state regulations that would prevent people from obtaining a mixed drink in a sealed container as a takeout order or prevent employees and contractors, such as food delivery services, from transporting such alcoholic beverages in sealed containers to customers.

Wednesday News: Take him down


NC SUPREME COURT WILL REMOVE PORTRAIT OF BRUTAL SLAVE OWNER: Thomas Ruffin, a slave owner in the 1800s, believed an owner's power over his slave was absolute. He once wrote in a court ruling that slaveholders should not be convicted for the assault or battery of an enslaved person. The court's decision to remove the portrait took note of Ruffin's slave ownership and his rulings defending slavery. Its announcement said Ruffin was regarded by his contemporaries as “particularly brutal in his ownership of slaves.” “It is important that our courtroom spaces convey the highest ideals of justice and that people who come before our Court feel comfortable knowing that they will be treated fairly,” Beasley wrote.

Tuesday News: Spend it now


NC TO RECEIVE $700 MILLION IN RENTAL ASSISTANCE FROM STIMULUS: North Carolina could get nearly $700 million from the $25 billion in rental assistance included in the new COVID-19 relief bill that congressional leaders agreed on over the weekend. Part of the estimated $700 million will go to cities in the state with 200,000 or more people. The rest will go to the state government to disburse to more rural parts of North Carolina. Ninety percent of the estimated $700 million must be used for tenants’ past unpaid rent, future rent and utility payments. Payments can be made to the landlord or utility company if the state or municipality chooses to do so. If a landlord refuses the assistance, the money can be sent to the tenant to pay the landlord. Landlords can apply for the assistance on their tenant’s behalf, but the tenant must also sign the application and the funds must be used to pay the tenant’s rent.

Monday News: Six thousand, two hundred twenty four


NEARLY HALF A MILLION HAVE CONTRACTED VIRUS IN NC: At least 479,168 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 6,224 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 6,900 new COVID-19 cases, up from 6,164 reported the day before and the third-highest daily total since the start of the pandemic. At least 2,748 people in North Carolina were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday. About 10.6% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest day for which data are available. Triangle food pantries are struggling to meet demand as more families are turning to them during the coronavirus pandemic and as a key federal program has run out of money early.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NC CHIEF JUSTICE BEASLEY LEAVES LEGACY TO EMULATE: Beasley became the first African American woman to be chief justice in March 2019. She’d served on the state’s highest court since 2012. On March 13th of this year, 13 months after Gov. Roy Cooper named her chief justice, Beasley issued her first directives to deal with the pandemic. Clerks of court were to make sure notices were posted that people who might have been exposed to COVID-19 not enter the courthouse. Routine Superior and District court proceedings were suspended unless they could be conducted remotely, were to deal with an emergency or due process. She also gave the senior judges in judicial districts discretion to make decisions on proceedings – giving critical consideration to protecting the health and safety of all those involved. There’s little glamour in making sure a job gets done – no matter how challenging the circumstances. But it is the mark of competence that has nothing to do with partisanship or politics.


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